With the NBA trade deadline just one month away, teams who have underperformed thus far are bound to be rummaging through their list of potential deals.
The Boston Celtics, to their dismay, fit that category well.
At 19-21 and the current No. 10 seed in the Eastern Conference, Boston’s season hasn’t been what most expected, despite having premier players in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
While normally offloading either would be out of the question, the Celtics failure to see success since their 2019-20 Eastern Conference Finals run has left the door open.
Boston could continue to reconfigure the rest of the lineup, but out of the two, Brown would more than likely be the centerpiece in a league altering trade.
Averaging 24.1 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.2 steals on the season, Brown would instantly be the biggest piece on the trading block across the league. His combination of offensive firepower from range and ability to play on-ball defense is much desired.
While Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti promised not to cut corners, it’s not often a player like Brown could be available.
Years down the road, a backcourt of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Brown could be looked at as the standard.
While highly unlikely, if a deal were to get done between Boston and OKC, here is what the framework could look like:
Recommended for You
Oklahoma City’s Offer: Luguentz Dort, Josh Giddey, Derrick Favors, 2024 Thunder FRP, 2023 Clippers FRP for Jaylen Brown, Aaron Nesmith
While the prospect of offering up Giddey in any capacity would make Thunder fans everywhere cringe, he’d have to be involved to both keep star Gilgeous-Alexander and get a deal done for Brown.
The rookie offers the Celtics a player that can both contribute to winning basketball now, but will also continue to get better should the future be a better option for Boston. Despite being just 19-years-old, Giddey would instantly stack up with any Boston passer.
In Dort, the Celtics would get a less-refined version of Brown to plug into the lineup. Averaging 16.3 points with devastating on-ball defense to go along, Dort gives the Celtics the opportunity to involve Marcus Smart in other negotiations.
Oklahoma City’s picks are among the most valuable in the league currently, and Boston could certainly use one to continue negotiations with other teams. With the Clippers future uncertain, their 2024 selection is moderately valuable as well.
Favors offers Boston another solid, seasoned rational player to make the money work.
Despite the subtraction of Brown should the Celtics go this route, they would certainly have options with an added starter, rookie and trove of picks.